Salina Wildrye

    Salina Wildrye

    Common Name(s):

    Salina Wildrye


    Saline Wildrye

    Scientific Name:

    Leymus salinus (M.E. Jones) A. Löve

    Scientific Name Synonyms:

    Elymus salina M.E. Jones




    Life Span: Perennial

    Origin: Native

    Season: Cool

    Growth Characteristics: An erect, perennial bunchgrass, with short rhizomes growing 1 ½ to 3 feet tall, with numerous slender seedstalks. Reproduces by seed.

    Seedhead: Slender, erect spike, 2 to 4 ½ inches long; spikelets mostly one per node, solitary to slightly overlapping, contain 5 to 9 florets; glumes needlelike, tapering to awn tips, 1/8 to ¼ inch long; lemmas glabrous, awnless to awn-tipped.

    Leaves: Mostly basal; blades rolled, firm, scabrous or rarely pubescent at base, and 4 to 6 inches long; sheaths scabrous; ligules short, membranous; auricles present or absent.

    Ecological Adaptions:

    Salina wildrye is a native grass, principally of the central Utah uplands. It occurs mainly on upland range sites and also on a few semi-desert and mountain sites in Carbon and Emery Counties, and to a lesser extent, in counties to the southwest and southeast of these two counties. Elevations range from 5000 to 7500 feet and rainfall varies from 10 to 16 inches annually.

    Soils: It is found mostly on fine textured soils of shale parent material. Soils where it grows vary from shallow to deep and from loams to silty clay loam, often with coarse fragments-cobble, gravel, and stones.

    Associated Species: Big sagebrush, shadscale, phlox, saltbush, and Utah juniper.

    Uses and Management:

    Salina wildrye is fair to poor forage for livestock and game animals, being most useful during the early spring. It is used to a limited extent by upland game birds and songbirds. It is a rather poor erosion control plant in pure stands because of it bunchiness. The foliage is harsh and tough to the touch. Salina wildrye is quite resistant to grazing.

    name of plant
    Photo courtesy of Dr. Roger Banner, USU Extension